The French way to upgrade pipe installation projects: Les Chartes de Qualité.
Jul 16, 2008
In order to improve the quality of sewers pipe installation projects, the French Authorities and in particular the French water agencies have created a committee with all the main participants like Water Agencies, networks owners, engineering consultants, contractors companies, quality control companies and pipe suppliers.
All the parties agree on:
- Achieving the necessary preliminary studies,
- Checking all the possible technical solutions,
- Selecting all the participants according to the principle of the ‘best offer’.
- Having time to prepare the job.
- Implementing a quality process at every level
- Controlling/ monitoring continuously and permanently every step.
- Ground instability due to a lack of compacting of embankments above the pipe.
- Incoming of clear water from the ground.
- Incoming of rain water from houses or roads.
- The suppliers said that the items sold were produced according to the standards and that all is controlled at every stage of their production line. The fault was not on their side, but on the contractors’ who were making improper use of these.
- The contractors said the job was done according to the construction rules. The problems are due to surprises during the work realisation like a high water table, bad soils and other networks up the project pipe.
Most of all, they said that even if they observed a problem during the price estimation, it was difficult to take it into consideration if they wanted to bid with a correct prices and have a chance to be successful. The fault was not on their side, but on the consultant’s who was making a light study with deadlocks.
- The consultant said the owners were always claiming that the prices were too high and refused to pay the complementary studies. So they were obliged to propose small budgets. The fault was not on their side, but on the owners’ who were always looking for lower costs even if it was not realistic.
- Finally the owners said they were not informed by the other participants of the necessity to produce all this work During the negotiation phase, everybody agreed on the idea that all would be simple. Once the contract was signed a lot of difficulties appeared with all the extracosts. It has always been the same and it cannot change.
- Pressure test according to EN 1610 norm. This test is done on all the length of pipe and laterals. It includes also man holes and lateral holes.
- Compaction test according to NF P 98-331 norm. This test is made for every segment between two man holes and on one lateral hole in four.
- CCTV inspection of all the line and laterals.
- Other network research by asking all the owners. As in many countries, the networks are not always precisely indicated on the maps and a job site survey can confirm their exact position of them.
- Administrative verifications as position of the network according to the ‘SDA’1,
- Sewer and drainage rules approved by the owner.
- Geological survey level 1. This survey includes a classification of the ground according to French regulations, a measurement of ground water table and proposal to reuse, if possible, in place ground as embankment.
- Private parcel enquiry in order to determine how the networks are organised in private property. The expected points are the good (correct?) situation of the lateral position and the measurement of the risk of mixing sewer and rain water in case of separate networks.
- Geological survey level 2 or 3. These surveys have to determine special jobs adaptation to take in account the difficulties due to the water table or bad soil conditions and special embankment compacting solutions like the reuse of the cuttings.
- Global schedule including preparation of the job and time for controls.
- Specific planning,
- Precise description of the way the specific difficulties will be cleared, like ground water pumping,
- Sustainable disposition for better environmental friendly measures, like reuse of the cutting,
- Internal procedures for quality control.
- Pressure test
- CCTV inspection of the line
- Ground compaction around the pipe.
- First a sample test once the first or two first segments are done. This sample test has the aim of making the foreman aware of the quality we will require at the end. It also aims to validate special procedures and most of all the compaction results when we reuse the on site earth.
- The second phase happens once each main phase is completed (once a street is done for example or once ten or twelve segments are built).
The system was criticized for the over costs due to the impact of the preliminary studies and the checks. In order to have a good view of the impact of the procedure on the costs, a study was given to an independent consulting company.
The results were the following:
The special job conditions are taken into account so the project price is a little higher.
We also find in the technical report good arguments to prove that the difficulties have been anticipated by the contractor and that the claim is not justified.
Most of all, some owners want to realise their project according to these principles in regions where it doesn’t exist. In order to help them, a national was created which adopts the main principles as said previously.
This national is built as a guide detailing at every step what the owner, the consultant, the contractor, and the other participants have to do. This document is clear and easy to read.
This has been adopted by the main national organisms like all the water agencies, the syndicate of the consultants (SYNTEC), the national syndicates of public works (FNTP) and its pipe installation department, the main pipes producers, the syndicate of control companies (COFRAQ) and lots of others involved in pipe installation.
Today trenchless rehabilitation has grown a lot and FSTT is trying to explain to the owners and financial providers the advantages of our techniques and how to adapt preliminary studies and building control For example, rehabilitation jobs needs a good CCTV inspection with film instead of private mapping of the laterals. The various inspection checks are the French adaptation of the European ones for every technique we can use.
The difficulty for this development is the number of techniques (soft or sleep lining, pipe bursting, …) that we can use and the specific studies asked to make the good choice. The other difficulty is the ignorance of the owners and sometime the consultants of the European norms. Numbers of them have not been adopted in French laws and even not been translated in French.
- The rate of non compliance observed at the end of the job is far less high.
- Most of all, the budget is more under control and it is more difficult for contractors to claim.
- A national has been written in order to help the owners in the regions where there is no regional chart. This national Charter has been adopted last September by all the main actors of pipe installation.
- New have to be created for pipe installation or rehabilitation with trenchless technologies. A group made by the FSTT is working on it.
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